The Supreme Court has allowed the release of a man detained for refusing mandatory military service for religious reasons on bail.

On Wednesday, the court said it granted the bail last Friday to the defendant surnamed Kim, who was being held pending an appellate decision on the charge of disobeying state orders to serve his military duty.

Kim was sentenced to 18 months in prison by a lower court. Before his release, he was the only conscientious objector behind bars out of the Supreme Court's 205 cases on the issue. 

This is the first time a conscientious objector has been allowed to walk free on bail since the Constitutional Court last month recognized the need for alternative service for conscientious objectors.

The Supreme Court, which has until now supported the state on the contentious matter, is set to hold a public hearing on two similar cases in late August before it makes a full-bench decision.

[Photo : KBS News]